|The Urawa sky!|
Hey everyone! It's been a way awesome week here in Urawa, and I'm so pumped for Halloween! I can't believe it's already coming up, but it's really starting to feel like Fall here in Japan, and it's starting to cool down quite a bit! First off, I just wanna say thank you so much to everyone for all of the awesome, kind words you put in your emails this week. :) I was having a pretty hard time last week, and your emails were all so encouraging and uplifting, and gave me such a strong desire to work harder, and always keep that faith and trust in the Lord. Just wanna say thanks so much, and please know I love you guys so so so much. Although I wish I could be with you guys through this holiday season, I'm so stoked to make it the best one ever living here in Japan! It kind of set in the other day that this would be my last holiday season in Japan, and I'm so stoked to give it my all throughout this really awesome time serving as a missionary! There definitely are those ups and downs, but overall this time serving as a missionary has changed my life so much, and I'm so excited to keep going forward with faith! It's gonna be an awesome Christmas Season. :)
To answer one of Mom's questions this week, yes they celebrate Halloween here in Japan! Thanksgiving not so much, and Christmas yes! Christmas doesn't really have the nativity or anything like that in Japan, instead there are two main traditions in Christmas in Japan. Christmas Cake, and KFC. How awesome is that?? Christmas Cake is basically like really decorated and extravagant fruit cake, and everyone eats KFC on Christmas Day! The traditions here are a little different, but most of the members of the church here in Japan really know traditional Christmas, and it's always so awesome visiting member's homes during the Christmas time. Halloween is pretty much the same, except trick or treating is pretty unheard of, and Thanksgiving is usually celebrated only by members of the church. :) The holidays are so awesome in Japan, and there lots of way cool Japanese holidays I've been able to celebrate here! One of the biggest is New Years, we always make lots of something called Mochi, and eat really traditional Japanese food! Mostly consisting of raw fish, rice, fish eggs, raw shrimp, boiled bamboo, and other awesome food! It's really cool, I'm so stoked to celebrate it again this year! Last year in Maebashi was such a blast during that season, and I'll always remember my Thanksgiving in Oyama. :) Both times Heavenly Father really blessed me with so many awesome memories, and I'm so thankful for the awesome areas I've been really blessed to serve in! Holidays are way awesome in Japan. :)
|Elder Shumway got pranked|
By the way Mom, you're an amazing example to me of someone with such unfailing charity and love for those around you. I just want to say thank you so much for always sending me those amazing care packages, I really love them so much. I felt so thankful to have a Mom as awesome as you when you said you didn't want to "bother" me with care packages, haha. I don't think anyone has ever been bothered by a care package... Ever. ;) haha, just want to say I love you so much, and thank you so much for the never ending love and kindness you share with me, you're the coolest Mamma!
It sounds like everyone is doing great though! I was so excited to hear of the great things you guys are planning, doing, and the blessings that are coming your way. I'm always praying for you guys, and I'm so thankful for the blessings Heavenly Father has given us this past year and few months. Just want to say your guys are the best and I love you all so much! Keep me updated with all of the things you are doing, and please send some of those pictures! It's cool to see what's going on back in your lives, and on P-day I always try to take extra time to think about you guys, and pray for those specific things you're doing, goals you're going for. By the way Tyler! So right now I live right next to the University of Saitama, but this university is right next to a Triumph Dealership! We've gone down a couple P-days to check them out, and I gotta say I think you made an awesome decision with the Thruxton! All of the salesman here agree it's the most stylish bike they've got, and when I showed them pictures of yours, they were way impressed! Way to go man. ;) As well Whitney, being near one of the more difficult universities in Japan, there are many photography buffs here! It's been so cool to share some of your pictures, and explain how your testimony has influenced your work! Haven't met anyone yet who knows your work, but I'm pumped for the day when someone will recognize your stuff when I show it to them! Do you think you could send me some of your most popular photos, and maybe some of them will know it! That would be so cool! Thanks so much for always being such a great example to me of going for your goals, and never putting barriers on the things you want to accomplish. I know Heavenly Father is actively watching over you, and he's so excited to help you get to the places you need to be. :) As well Alexa I'm so stoked for all of the awesome missionary work you're doing in your ward! Ask your missionaries if they happen to know a Sister Dorff, her dad is the stake president here, and she's serving in the San Francisco mission! Also Mom and Dad, you should ask about an Elder Dorff! That's his son, and he's serving in the Sacramento Mission! Last I heard he was serving in Folsom, but he may have been transferred! President Dorff has been so awesome to serve with, and we hit it off pretty quick when we found out we're both Californians, and his kids are serving so close to my hometown! Small world right?
But overall this week was really pretty awesome! As a Zone we tried to stay really focused on finding, and overall there were so many amazing miracles! This week, I definitely felt the love of Heavenly Father, and the empowering fact that he actively hears, and answers our prayers. We were blessed with so many awesome college student investigators, and we're so excited to help them begin learning about the Gospel, and see how it can truly bless their lives. We live really close to the most awesome family I've ever met on my mission, the Hashimotos! Brother Hashimoto was baptized at the age of 19, and he now has a son serving as a missionary in Kobe, and he and his wife remind me so much of mom and dad! Last night they brought us by dinner, and have just been showing so much love, and it reminds me how the missionaries must feel when they come by our home. Missionary work, and just being a missionary has changed, and blessed my life so much, and I'm so thankful for this chance to share this great message with the amazing people of Japan. This country really has stolen my heart, and I'm so thankful for this chance to be serving in such an amazing country. I'm starting to see day by day why I was called here, and not some other place. I love Japan! Last week I got to go down to Shinjuku station, and my mind was just so blown away by the awesomeness of serving in Japan, and being able to share this amazing message with so many great people. I love being a missionary so much, and I'm so excited to go forward with faith! I love you guys so much, and I'm so thankful for the amazing family Heavenly Father has blessed me with. I miss you guys a ton during this time of the year, but I'm so stoked to stay focused, keep working hard, and continually strive to be more of the missionary, son, and servant the lord wants me to be. I love this gospel, I know it is true, and I know that Heavenly Father truly hears and answers our prayers. I love you guys so much, have an awesome week!!